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Delhi High Court refused to entertain the petition on the ground that the appropriate forum for such a pan-India challenge was the Supreme Court.
The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a petition challenging the Bar Council of India's notification asking law colleges to conduct online examination for final year students. (Vishal Tripathi & and vs BCI & Ors)
The primary contention in the petition was that since law colleges across India had not been able to conduct classes due to COVID-19, they could now not be permitted to hold any examination.
After a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad remarked that the appropriate forum for such a pan-India challenge was the Supreme Court, the petition was withdrawn.
The petition was preferred by two law students, a final year student in the Delhi University and a third year law student in Karnataka Univeristy's five-year LLB course.
Apart from the BCI notification, the petition had also challenged the Delhi Univeristy Notification on conduction of online examination for final year students.
Counsel for the Petitioners, Advocate Gunjan Singh argued that the BCI Notification failed to take into consideration the unavailability of laptop, internet etc with many students.
Claiming that even classes were not conducted due to COVID-19 pandemic, Singh argued that final year examination should be completely substituted with internal assessment/assignment.
Counsel for Bar Council of India, Advocate Preet Pal Singh stated that as per its Notification, apart from online examination, law colleges were free to adopt any other equivalent method to evaluate the students.
Counsel for UGC, Advocate Apoorv Kurup stated that while the examination was compulsory for final year students, institutes had the power to determine the mode and manner of promotion of intermediate students.
While hearing the counsel for the Petitioner, the Court clarified that LL.B. students could not be equated with students of other courses.
Observing that final year examination would test whether LL.B students were prepared for the profession, the Court remarked,
The Court also noted that apart from national law universities, several other law colleges may not even have the system of conducting internal assessments.
The Court further expressed its unwillingness to entertain the petition after Advocate Singh stated that he did not have the full information on the number of classes conducted by all law schools in India.
"We can't do a witch hunt in respect of law colleges..Under Article 226 jurisdiction, we can't do a roving and fishing enquiry.", the Court said.
After the Court raised specific objections with respect to its jurisdiction over law colleges that are not in Delhi, the counsel for Petitioners stated that he would move the Supreme Court.
The petition was ultimately withdrawn by the Petitioners with liberty to approach the Supreme Court for appropriate relief.